Annotations Heart of Darkness.
Passage 1 “I left in a French steamer: The French Steam Ship and she called in every blamed port they have out there, for, as far as I could see, the sole purpose of landing soldiers and custom-house officers. I watched the coast. Watching a coast as it slips by the ship is like thinking about an enigma. Analogy comparing the coast slipping by the ship to a mystery. There it is before you — smiling, frowning, inviting, grand, mean, insipid, or savage, and always mute with an air of whispering, Personification: Giving humanlike features to the coast. ‘Come and find out. This one was almost featureless, as if still in the making, with an aspect of monotonous grimness. Suggesting that the coast invites us to uncover its secrets. The edge of a colossal jungle, so dark-green as to be almost black by using these two words is the author purposely trying to imply racial discrimination….? , fringed with white surf, ran straight, like a ruled line, far, far away along a blue sea whose glitter was blurred by a creeping mist. The sun was fierce, the land seemed to glisten and drip with steam. Here and there grayish-whitish specks showed up clustered inside the white surf, with a flag flying above them perhaps. Whitish specks” symbolize the white settlements. Settlements some centuries old, and still no bigger than pinheads on the untouched expanse of their background. They looked so small in the huge jungle. We pounded along, stopped, landed Parallelism soldiers; went on, landed Parallelism custom-house clerks to levy toll in what looked like a God-forsaken wilderness, with a tin shed and a flag-pole lost in it; landed Parallelism more soldiers — to take care of the custom-house clerks, presumably. Some, I heard, got drowned in the surf; but whether they did or not, nobody seemed particularly to care.
They were just flung out there, and on we went. Every day the coast looked the same, as though we had not moved; but we passed various places — trading places — with names like Gran’ Bassam, Little Popo; names that seemed to belong to some sordid farce acted in front of a sinister back-cloth. The idleness of a passenger, my isolation amongst all these men with whom I had no point of contact, the oily and languid sea, the uniform somberness of the coast, Using descriptive language to describe the calm motionless sea… seemed to keep me away from the truth of things, within the toil of a mournful and senseless delusion.
The voice of the surf heard now and then was a positive pleasure, like the speech of a brother. The sound of the waves was a calm sound for him and he compares it to the voice of a brother using a simile. It was something natural that had its reason that had a meaning. Now and then a boat from the shore gave one a momentary contact with reality. Sometimes the boat on the shore reminded him of reality…this quote touches the theme of the story, It was paddled by black fellows. “Black fellows” Discriminatory language-(You could see from afar the white of their eyeballs glistening.
They shouted, sang; their bodies streamed with perspiration; they had faces like grotesque masks Is this a caricature, its describing the features of the “blacks” as a grotesque mask which to me sounds exaggerated and inaccurate. How can you say that about someone? Isn’t that a bit condescending, comparing their faces to an ugly mask (simile) these chaps; but they had bone, muscle, a wild vitality, an intense energy of movement, descriptive language describing their sharp features. that was as natural and true as the surf along their coast.
They wanted no excuse for being there. They were a great comfort to look at. For a time I would feel I belonged still to a world of straightforward facts. What are the straight forward facts and who defines them? ; But the feeling would not last long. Something would turn up to scare it away. Once, I remember, we came upon a man-of-war anchored off the coast. There wasn’t even a shed there, and she was shelling the bush. It appears the French had one of their wars going on thereabouts.
Her ensign dropped limp like a rag; the muzzles of the long six-inch guns stuck out all over the low hull; the greasy, slimy swell swung her up lazily and let her down, swaying her thin masts. In the empty immensity of earth, sky, and water, there she was, incomprehensible, firing into a continent. Onomatopoeia(Pop, would go one of the six-inch guns; a small flame would dart and vanish, a little white smoke would disappear, a tiny projectile would give a feeble screech — and nothing happened. Nothing could happen.
There was a touch of insanity in the proceeding ‘Touch of Insanity” is no t the lateral meaning of the word, in this case it can be used as a figure of speech, a sense of lugubrious drollery in the sight; and it was not dissipated by somebody on board assuring me earnestly there was a camp of natives — he called them enemies! — hidden out of sight somewhere. Passage 2: We penetrated deeper and deeper into the heart of darkness. It has a literal and figurative meaning. Literal in that the river shrunk as they continued on with their journey and opened up from the front.
It’s figurative in that the heart of darkness symbolizes the things unknown and the things which represent or hold a larger importance. It was very quiet there. At night sometimes the roll of drums behind the curtain of trees would run up the river and remain sustained faintly, as if hovering in the air high over our heads, till the first break of day. Whether it meant war, peace, or prayer we could not tell. … We were wanderers on prehistoric earth, on an earth that wore the aspect of an unknown planet.
They had gone so far off, that they went able to recognize anything and thus they felt like they were born again as they went further down into the heart of darkness. We could have fancied ourselves the first of men taking possession of an accursed inheritance, to be subdued at the cost of profound anguish and of excessive toil. But suddenly, as we struggled round a bend, there would be a glimpse of rush walls, of peaked grass hoofs, a burst of yells, a whirl of black limbs, a mass of hands clapping, of feet stamping, of bodies swaying, of eyes rolling, Parallelism(‘…of…’) under the droop of heavy and motionless foliage. .. The prehistoric man was cursing us, praying to us, welcoming us-who Parallelism (‘…was’) could tell. Who is to judge whether they were welcoming them or abusing them. This passage shows uncertainty in that nothing seems understandable. ? We were cut off from the comprehension of our surroundings; we glided past like phantoms, Simile in that as the glided past no one noticed them and like a ghost it almost wasn’t real. Nothing seemed real, and their presence was insignificant. They were invisible. ondering and secretly appalled, as sane men would be before an enthusiastic outbreak in a madhouse. Analogy: As they tried to discover the unknown just like men from a mad house released and waiting to get out and notice everything. could not understand because we were too far and could not remember, because we were traveling in the night of first ages, of those ages that are gone, leaving hardly a sign-and no memories. The earth seemed unearthly. Paradox We are accustomed to 1ook upon the shackled form of a conquered monster, but there – there you could look at a thing monstrous and free.
It was unearthly, and the men were–No, they were not inhuman. Well, you know, that was the worst of it-this suspicion of their not being inhuman. I would come slowly to one. They howled and leaped, and spun, and made horrid faces; but what thrilled you was just the thought of their humanity-like yours-the thought of your remote kinship with this wild and passionate uproar. Ugly. Yes, it was ugly enough; They were horrified and unable to recognize there surroundings. They felt like they had been born again into a world waiting to be re discovered. ut if you were man enough you would admit to yourself that there was in you just the faintest trace of a response to the terrible frankness of that noise, a dim suspicion of there being a meaning in it which you -you so remote from tile night of the first ages–could comprehend. And why not? The mind of man is capable of anything-because everything is in it, all the past as well as the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valor, rage-who can tell? -but truth-truth stripped of its cloak of time. Let the fool gape and shudder-the man knows, and can look on without a wink.
But he must at least be as much of a man as these on the shore. He must meet that truth with his own true stuff-with his inborn strength. They were searching for the truth…but what was really the ‘truth’? Principles won’t do. Acquisitions, clothes, pretty rags–rags that would fly off at the first good shake. No; you want a deliberate belief. An appeal to me in this fiendish row-is there? Very well; I hear; I admit, but I have a voice, Parallelism (‘…I… ’) too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced. Of course, a fool, what with sheer fright and fine sentiments, is always safe.